TOKYO -- The fund management group of former agricultural minister Yoshimasa Hayashi refunded 1 million yen to a political group linked to the Japan Veterinary Medical Association (JVMA) in November last year, four years after the group received the funds as a donation, according to the group's political funding report for 2017 released on Nov. 30.
The donation has raised questions as Hayashi, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), was in charge of veterinarians at the time of the donation as minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries. "We returned the money from a moral perspective," said a representative of Hayashi's office.
According to a financial statement of the JVMA's political group and other information, the group donated 1 million yen to Hayashi's fund management organization on Sept. 2, 2013. However, the fund management group did not list the funds in its political funding report for the year.
Hayashi's fund management group eventually returned the money to the JVMA political group on Nov. 21, 2017, according to financial statements of both parties. However, the refund came only after the lack of an entry on the funds in the political funding report of Hayashi's group came to light earlier that month.
Hayashi was serving as education minister at the time of the repayment, and authorized the establishment of a veterinary school in a national strategic special zone by Kake Educational Institution, an Okayama-based school operator headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's close friend. The JVMA was opposed to the establishment of the new vet school in Imabari, Ehime Prefecture.
(Japanese original by Akira Iida, City News Department)